A reader recently observed a “Wax Museum” event at their school. If you’re not familiar with an event like this, it’s where students dress up as a famous person and give a little talk about that person to folks visiting the “museum.” In my experience, there is usually a button that visitors press to “activate” […]
When we differentiate, we simply offer students opportunities to think at a level appropriate to their ability. In an ideal world, our district-provided materials would come with lessons that scale with students’ abilities, but that’s rarely the case.
So! We can make use of dozens of well-established techniques for differentiating lessons for students of varying abilities. Here are articles detailing many of those techniques, organized into subcategories.
Depth and Complexity Icons
Differentiate With Classics
Complexity vs Skill
Differentiation Gone Wrong
I was reminded recently of a divisibility game I used to play with my own students, called “Fizz Buzz.” It’s a great example of low floor, high ceiling as well as my motto interesting, not just challenging. The floor is quite low. Students get in a circle and start counting up. Then they have a […]
Even though he’s in the Duplo age range, my kid is simply more interested in Lego. And it’s always more effective, more respectful, and simply easier to start with a kid’s interests rather than what’s “age-appropriate.”
Imagine the journey of a martial arts master, expert violinist, professional electrician, or star athlete. They begin their first year in a giant class of beginners. But, as they move forward, their classes get smaller. These students work more closely with experts as they advance. When we recognize great potential, we partner students up with […]
Acceleration is a cheap and simple way to differentiate for students who are ready for something more. It can mean skipping a whole grade but is more commonly accomplished through subject-specific acceleration. Lots of people have weird arguments against acceleration, but the research shows that it works (when done well).
When differentiating, it’s helpful to note where on the “spectrum of abstraction” your content lies. Then, see what happens when you move that content to be more abstract or more specific. It often unlocks lots of new opportunities for thinking.
One of the most significant barriers to differentiating for gifted learners is a misunderstanding of the purpose of grade-level standards. People see grade-level standards as a maximum. The truth is the complete opposite.
I get lots of questions from overwhelmed folks who have suddenly landed in a new job in gifted ed and have had little training. “Where do I even start!?” is a very common cry. Here are three places to begin differentiating for gifted kids.
In a climate where we focus on who’s below-level, how many students are already ready for next year (and beyond)? Research from Johns Hopkins sheds light on the (truly) shocking number of above-level kids out there.
Wondering what to do with your early finishers? This is probably the wrong question!